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Mini Mexican Meatballs

While meatballs are not in the glam appetizer realm, they’re the first to go at most cocktail spreads. Ideal for any casual get together and over the top flavourful, they can also be made ahead if you like. The taste gets better as they sit.
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min


1 lb ground chicken
½ to 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground chili powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg
¼ cup crushed tortilla chips (about 13 chips) or dried bread crumbs, preferably panko
1 cup grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
28 oz can diced tomatoes, well drained
½ cup salsa
1 cup chopped fresh coriander

Food Safety

Before you start, wash all surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water, and remember to wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they touch raw meat or eggs. Avoid cross-contamination by using a different cutting board for your meat and other ingredients. Make sure you’re cooking to safe temperatures and chilling any leftovers within two hours. For more food safety tips, visit our Food Safety at Home Section.


  1. Spread chicken out on a wide plate. Sprinkle with jalapeno and seasonings. In a bowl, whisk egg and then stir in chip or bread crumbs. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese if using. Refrigerate.

  2. For sauce, place drained tomatoes and salsa in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Boil gently, uncovered and stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Then lower heat so mixture just simmers.

  3. Meanwhile, using wet hands, form chicken into meatballs, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide for appetizers or 1½ inches (3.8 cm) if using as a main course.

  4. When all are formed, increase heat under thickened sauce to medium. Drop chicken balls into the simmering sauce and gently press into the sauce. Cover and when sauce starts to boil again, reduce heat so it barely simmers. Continue simmering, covered and gently turning meatballs often, for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in coriander and serve.

  5. Makes 32 appetizer size meatballs to serve 8 for appetizers or to serve 4 as a main course.

  6. Baked meatballs: Want browned meatballs? Instead of cooking in the sauce, bake on an oiled baking pan at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes for inch wide (2.5 cm) meatballs or 20 minutes for 1½ inch (4 cm) meatballs. No need to turn. Then simmer in the sauce, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in coriander and serve.

Nutrition Info

Per serving Amount
Protein15 g
Fat14 g
Saturated Fat6 g
Carbohydrate7 g
Fibre1 g
Sugar3 g
Cholesterol86 mg
Sodium479 mg
Per serving % Daily Value
Vitamin A9
Vitamin C18
Vitamin B618
Vitamin B1222